Alabama NAR Directors Combined Report
December 5, 2017
Board of Directors Meeting
November 6, 2017
NAR Annual Conference
Alabama has eight Alabama REALTORS® on the National Association of REALTORS® Board of Directors who represent and make decisions on behalf of all REALTORS® from across the country. The 2017 Alabama National Directors are Dick Chittam, Keith Kelley, Bob McMillan, Mugs Mullins, Peyton Norville, Sid Pugh, Henry Ray, and Chip Watts.
Below is a summary of their report following the NAR Annual Convention and Trade Show in Chicago on November 6, 2017.
- Three-Way Agreement – REALTOR® Party and Advocacy. The Board of Directors adopted a long-standing custom and practice and codified this in Association Policy to make sure REALTORS® speak with one voice on advocacy issues at the local, state, and national level, promote cooperation among all levels of the REALTOR® organization, and ensure that REALTOR® advocacy resources are used efficiently. This policy specifies that state and local association use of advocacy funds and other resources provided by NAR shall be for only those activities within their territories. The policy also specifies that lobbying and advocacy activity shall occur only within a board’s territorial jurisdiction.
- MLS of Choice. The Board of Directors adopted a policy to encourage value-driven competition among MLSs and give added flexibility to brokerages and agents. Under the new policy, which goes into effect July 1, 2018, an MLS cannot require participation by all offices of a real estate firm within the jurisdiction of the shareholder association. Thus, for licensees affiliated with a brokerage that participates in more than one MLS, licensees may choose which MLS to which they wish to subscribe. MLSs will be required to provide a no-cost waiver option of MLS fees, dues, and charges if those licensees can show they have a subscription to another MLS in which their broker participates. However, licensees can only subscribe to an MLS if their broker is a participant. More information can be found here.
- Disclosure of Beneficial Owners of Business Entities. The Board of Directors passed a policy supporting requiring the disclosure of beneficial owners of a shell company when it's formed and registered with its home state. Anonymous shell companies are increasingly being used to launder money via real estate purchases. Currently, there are no federal laws that require the identification of these companies' "beneficial owners," i.e., the individuals who control and benefit from these companies. The disclosure is aimed at helping the federal government identify use of real estate transactions in the U.S. to launder money from illicit activities.
- Funding for Research to Develop an NAR Policy for a National Disaster Insurance Program. The federal government currently spends billions of dollars on disaster relief each year. NAR's Insurance Committee believes it would be less expensive to pool the risk, charge a nominal fee on each homeowner's insurance policy, and build up a national insurance reserve fund to pay for the losses. Therefore, the Board of Directors approved spending $174,000 to have an actuarial study conducted on the creation of a nationwide natural disaster insurance program.
- Other issues included:
- State of the Association. The association is in strong financial shape. There are currently 1,292,000 members, 50,000 more than the association anticipated.
- RPAC. The number of RPAC investors rose to 390,988, up by 23,000 over 2016.
- Tax Reform. NAR CEO Bob Goldberg told the Board of Directors that the tax reform plan under consideration by federal lawmakers represents a "clear and present danger" to the real estate industry. According to 2017 NAR Federal Taxation Committee Chair Iona Harrison, the bill “threatens American homeownership” and “is a bad bill for homeownership”. However, there is some debate as to how the proposals will impact individuals and states differently depending on circumstances as related to individual incomes and property tax rates. Passed in different forms by the House of Representatives and the Senate, the bill is now in conference, during which any differences in the two bills will be worked out. Stay tuned to AAR and NAR websites for details on the final package.